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Schools with Satellite Engineering Programs: How to Choose

Students interested in satellite engineering can find relevant training through undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in telecommunications technology or aerospace.

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Curricula within aerospace and telecommunications programs can vary, so students interested in satellite engineering should review concentrations and elective offerings before enrolling; students might seek research opportunities when coursework isn't available in a chosen degree program.

Top 10 Aerospace Engineering Schools

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees for aspiring satellite engineers.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-State Tuition* (2015-2016)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $46,704 Undergraduate; $46,400 Graduate
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $43,710 Graduate
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $45,729 Graduate
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,856 Undergraduate; $20,638 Graduate
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,204 Undergraduate; $13,452 Graduate
Purdue University - West Lafayette West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,002 Undergraduate; $9,208 Graduate
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,054 Undergraduate; $15,023; Graduate
Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,176 Undergraduate; $5,598 Graduate
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,806 Undergraduate; $10,934 Graduate
University of Colorado - Boulder Boulder, CO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $11,091 Undergraduate; $10,530 Graduate

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

Some schools and affiliated organizations offer research opportunities, which provide students the opportunity to network and make employment contacts. Students interested in satellite engineering programs may want to keep these other considerations in mind:

  • Many state boards require that an engineer have a degree from an ABET-accredited program to become licensed.
  • Common areas of satellite research include design and operation, propulsion systems and systems development.
  • For additional networking and learning opportunities, look for schools that have student affiliations of national organizations, such as the aerospace division of the Society of Automotive Engineers or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These groups sponsor student research projects, and some hold annual design competitions.
  • Consider a school's facilities and the opportunities they provide for practical experience. Schools with aerospace programs might include wind tunnels, water tunnels or composite materials laboratories locally or at the campus. Telecommunications technology programs might have advanced computer labs, processing labs or clean rooms.

Bachelor's Degrees in Telecommunications Engineering Technology

The engineering portion of these programs is divided between telecommunications and electronics courses that deal with transmissions systems.

Bachelor's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering

The aerospace engineering bachelor's curriculum includes sequences in design and aerodynamics, along with courses in thermodynamics and propulsion.

Graduate Certificates in Satellite Engineering

These certificate programs provide engineering graduates with specialization in the satellite field. The programs typically take two semesters to complete and can include coursework in astrodynamics or navigation systems. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree to enroll in the program.

Master's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering

Many graduate degree programs give students the option of pursuing a thesis or research project or completing additional advanced coursework. Curricula are largely devoted to structural design and propulsion systems. Some programs offer concentration areas relevant to satellite engineering, such as satellite navigation systems, aerospace structures and space systems engineering.

There are many institutions throughout the United States that offer graduate and undergraduate programs in fields relevant for aspiring satellite engineers. Students can evaluate programs in aerospace engineering, satellite engineering and telecommunications technology when deciding on a program.

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